Sunday, February 24, 2013

Istanbul Trip Part 3

Eminonu station was the main destination on my third day in Istanbul. It was around 9:00 AM when I purchased a ticket for Bosphorus Tour first before heading to New Mosque; it was just a walking distance. As a tradition and respect, the shoes should be removed before entering the mosque. New Mosque is one of the best known sights in Istanbul. The mosque alone has 66 domes and semi-domes which make it a nice architectural view. Inside, you will notice tremendous designs on each of the domes and the sight was picturesque. The lights were so beautiful and creatively arranged to expose the greater side of the mosque.

Just beside the New Mosque is the Spice Bazaar which is the second largest covered shopping complex (after Grand Bazaar) in Istanbul. The name itself explains why it was called Spice Bazaar. Upon entering, you will notice that several spices are being sold in most stalls. There were also glass wares, dried fruits and some tea products. It is an 'L'-shaped building. Currently, it is still the center of spice trading in Istanbul. Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything from the bazaar but the place was crowded with several tourists acquiring free taste and purchasing some products.

It was after an hour when I boarded the ferry for the Bosphorus Tour. Bosphorus is also known as Istanbul Strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. If you have seen Taken 2, there was a scene where Liam was riding in a ferry with his daughter and pointing out Europe and Asian part of Istanbul. Anyway, it was a total of 4 hours journey (back and forth) on which I really enjoyed seeing the amazing views of Istanbul represented and divided by waters. The tour showed Istanbul's beautiful house architectures and old buildings. I also noticed that there are many Turkish flags along the strait. The ferry made several stops to pick up some passengers and eventually ended in Anadolu Kavagi where we had 2-3 hour stop.

In Anadolu Kavagi, you will see many seafood restaurants where the staffs are all smile inviting you to dine in with them. But the first thing that most of us tourists did was to climb up the hill and reach the Yoros Castle. From the top, you will see the refreshing view of the Black Sea meeting Bosphorus. I rested for a while there and observed the surroundings and it felt like the winds were embracing me and whispering to me that life is indeed beautiful. After a while, I went down to look for something to eat. I found this restaurant that has a heater inside to unleash the coldness temporarily. I boarded the ferry after an hour that took me back to Eminonu.

From Eminonu, I rode the tramway and headed to Taksim Square. It is the top destination for tourists because of it's leisure things such as restaurants, shops and hotel. It is also considered as the heart of Istanbul. Once you see the "Monument of the Republic", then you can say that you in Taksim Square. The shopping street is so huge and every corner has special retail stores. I took some time to buy souvenirs and good thing I learned some Turkish phrases for shopping purposes. It was a long and tiring day but very fulfilling.


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